Think before buying Black Friday bargain drones or model aircraft

Mick Ferris
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There are lots of enticing Black Friday bargains around, including drones and model aircraft.

Flying them is lots of fun but if you’re thinking of buying one for yourself or someone else, you need to be aware of the rules and regulations before you make your purchase.

PC Rob Gould, of the Essex Police Community and Tactical Team based at Stansted Airport, says: “Flying drones and model aircraft sounds like fun. They offer us a unique perspective of our surroundings and make aviation more accessible to everyone.

“The drone industry is one of the fastest growing and there are a vast number of positive applications for drone use but, if you are thinking of buying one for yourself or someone else, there are several things you must consider first.

“This includes the age of the recipient, whether the model of aircraft you choose requires you to register it and pass a free online test before you can fly it, whether it needs to be insured and where it can be flown.

“Remember you cannot fly a drone or model aircraft within the flight restriction zone of any airport or airfield in the UK. These zones have been put in place to keep air passengers and commercial air traffic safe, minimise disruption and prevent anti-social drone flying around airports.”

So far this year, Stansted Airport has seen approximately 50 unauthorised drone incursions into its Flight Restriction Zone. The vast majority of these have been as a result of the drone pilots or operators not being familiar with the regulations around drone use.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is the UK airspace governing body and its Drone and Model Aircraft Code sets out everything you need to know before you decide what to buy.

Just search CAA Drones or visit

For more information about how Essex Police uses drone technology to prevent, detect and disrupt crime, visit

Mick Ferris

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